Are there global differences in dental training?
There is indeed. You are urged to use the National Dental Examining Board of Canada’s Self-Assessment Tool available on their website www.ndeb.ca to investigate how your training might compare to the Canadian model.
Do research. Review the NDEB’s list of Competencies for a Beginning Dental Practitioner in Canada to determine whether your training covered these areas. Compare your curriculum to that of an accredited dental program in Canada.
It is natural for someone to be convinced that their dental training was sufficient or even excellent. However, when looked at through the lens of another country’s standards, scope of training, cultural differences/expectations and focus, you may find that your training is inadequate for licensure in Canada.
RCDSO, the National Dental Examining Board and the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada have confirmed the status of many international dental programs and accreditation processes through a variety of ways including:
visitations to numerous dental schools worldwide by the NDEB and CDAC;
annual monitoring of admission tests;
monitoring performance in the advanced standing programs (qualifying/bridging programs) and results from the national examination;
contact with international dental regulatory authorities and regular attendance at international conferences and workshops on education and registration; invited presentations and consultation provided to international regulatory boards.
Experience and evidence have demonstrated that the majority of international candidates coming from the current major source countries require the two-year advanced standing programs in order to meet Canadian standards. The NDEB Equivalency Process was created for candidates who do not require the two-year placements to prove competency.
As elsewhere in the world, there are limitations here in Canada too with respect to university facilities, faculty and infrastructure support. Every year thousands of submissions are received for the 400 seats available nationally in the domestic four-year dental programs. The same dynamic applies for the internationally trained trying to get into advanced standing programs.
Here in Ontario, the internationally trained are looking at a level playing field with registrants from within Canada. The Ontario 2012 statistic for registrants whose training was outside of Canada compared to registrants from within Canada was virtually identical, a 50/50 split. This is an exceptional number and possibly higher than any other profession.